Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Proof that Abstinence Only Programs Do Not Work

 Teen pregnancy rates are high in most areas of the United States, high because of uniformed teenagers growing up without family involvement, with abstinence only programs and without the availability of safe and confidential birth control options. A pregnant teen is only one step in the ladder of sexual activity in children ages 15-19 it is a ladder that also contains abortion rates, sexually transmitted diseases, fetal and maternal death rates.

The U.S Department of Health has a section called Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) which will give the reproductive health facts on a state by state basis. Utah (for example since it IS my state) in 2010 6 percent of all births were teen pregnancies versus the national average of 9 percent. Utah is one of the higher states for teen pregnancy, especially in non Hispanic whites. (Curiouser and Curiouser) 

More than half of the pregnancies between girls ages 15-19 were outside of marriage. This does not mean I think you should wait to have sex before marriage. But I do think you should wait until you are at least 18 and out of high school... You know, a grown up. The statistics are not that surprising, however, when one considers that four school districts teach abstinence only. Yeah Yeah Yeah, harping, whatever.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also has a department called The Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). It covers HIV, STD and teen pregnancy prevention in students.  The Risk Behavior Survey done in 2011 shows that many students had sexual intercourse without protection. Those that did have sex without protection did so because they did not know about birth control or did not know where to obtain birth control. Not to mention that 16 percent were not taught about HIV and AIDS. These statistics match up with the OAH statistics.  DASH states that the solutions to the teen pregnancy issues  are for better health education, more family participation, better policies and more comprehensive health plans.

A DASH 2010 pole about Utah’s high schools showed that only 11 percent taught condom information and use, 8 percent has a nurse on duty, less than half had supportive services and that only 37 percent had information to give to parents to make sure that families are reinforcing STD and pregnancy prevention. These statistics are very similar in other conservative states, check it out.

The Utah Health Department put together a report on Adolescent Pregnancy in Utah looking at trends over the last twenty years. The report is from 1997 but the Utah Health Department states that the trends, laws, policies and statistics have not changed much.  They show as did DASH and OAH that many Utah students were sexually active between the ages of 15-19.  That many of these teens waited up to a year after they had become sexually active before seeking any kind of birth control and that over half of the pregnancies from teens were because of the non use of contraception.

The Utah Health Department attributes this to the fact that the laws in Utah states that abstinence only should be pushed in sexual education classes and contraceptives may be talked about but the use of not encouraged. Parents also must give written consent to have their children in classes which discuss birth control.  

This is stupid. When I was in Middle School I had the worlds best Sex Ed teacher. She showed giant pictures of STD's talked about how "no one is too big for a condom, wear one!" and answered all our questions honestly and openly. I didn't have sex until I was 18 because a) she scared the crap out of me b) I didn't want a baby or a disease and c) my mom and I could talk about sex without an issue.

Please just talk to your children. Allow your children to be taught sexual education, I promise it won't make them sluts.

Here are some handy resources:


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